Dishing about TV news

January 5th, 2009

Notice something different on KITV?

Longtime weather anchor Ben Gutierrez isn't on anymore. The station didn't renew his contract, which expired at the end of the year. He had been there for 10 years.

Gutierrez — a talented singer and performer — at a farewell karaoke event this weekend. Gutierrez was let go from KITV after 10 years.

Amber-Lynn Hyden was promoted to weekday morning anchor. Her first day was Friday.

Nothing against Hyden, who joined KITV in July. But Gutierrez was good. Really good. I can't imagine the newscast without him.

And it's not just because I dig the guy on a personal level. (Though that part's true.) He was a class act, hard-working, he loved his job. He's talented and smart. I don't have a doubt he'll find a job — or a job will find him — soon.

But his departure is just another in the local TV news landscape.

Tune into any newscast and you'll see a reporter or anchor you've never seen before. New faces, new voices, new stories.

More than with newspapers, folks who tune into evening newscasts every night are really connected to the people who deliver the news. You like their style, you like their storytelling, you like their fashion sense or flawless skin. And when those faces are replaced, it's hard for viewers to stay loyal.

It's how I feel about free agency in the NFL.

So as a tribute to past and present TV journalists, let's dish about who's your favorite, who you miss and who — like Gutierrez — you had wanted to stick around a little longer.

54 Responses to “Dishing about TV news”

  1. Ron:

    I'd say I'd wanted to have Bob Sevey hang around a little longer. I remember watching his very last newscast, and signing off -- which you see in the KGMB ads these days.

    The others I'd wish were around a little longer were the three Mr. Checkers. Nathanial Hawthorne, Dave Donneley, and Jim Demarest. At least Morgan White (Pogo Poge) is still around, retired on the mainland.

  2. RONW:

    So, when's Gutierrez running for state senator or state representative like so many newscasters before him?

  3. Annoddah Dave:


    Seems like the news is more entertainment than anything else. I have seen many come and go as well because they were, frankly, getting old. Too bad that the tube needs to have the young beautiful people syndrome. Perhaps the rare exception is Robert Kekaula. He is everything physically that most stations are not looking for! But, he has gotten very smooth in sports broadcasting and very knowledgeable. I guess Mike Rosenberg was looking for a change after Shawn Ching left. Notice that Paula is relegated to the late night news now. Mike is still trying to match the success he had at KHON when be brought Joe to be the main boy.

    I do miss someone who very few remember, Bob Basso. He is currently an author but when he did the sports it was really interesting because he would include some editorial type comments...just like the plethora of sports talk shows we have now.

  4. hemajang:

    yeah, I liked Ben Gutierrez. He was just another weatherman for a while but really got to know and like him in the a.m. show...he was good at it. KITV probably wanted a prettier face and that's show biz. Hopefully, another station will pick up Gutierrez.

    I really like the KHON staff of Ron Mizutani, Jai Cunningham, Kanoa Leahey, Marissa Yamane, Trini Kaopuiki, Kirk Matthews, and wife really likes Justin Cruz...but I hate Joe Moore. His delivery of the news is one of the best but I can't stand his arrogant commentary and personal opinions. His on-air feud with June Jones was the last straw. I only watch KHON when he is not on or only for the weather or sports segment.

  5. hemajang:

    Speaking of weather reports, this unique take on Hawaii's weather by Triump the Insult Dog is hilarious....move over, Shari Shima.

  6. Jack:

    Sad to say but I think what everyone else is saying is true. Out with the old and experienced and in with the young, pretty and willing to work for less money. The older generation here is pretty set on watching Joe Moore so the staffers at KHON are safe. Every other station though is not going to chase the the older market so they are going to constantly change the teams there to meet with our generations ever changing taste. Again very sad.

  7. City Hall Observer:

    I record all my tv shows to watch at my convenience so I don't watch any tv newscasts with any sort of regularity or allegiance - whatever's on after the 9 pm show is what I wind up seeing for the first ten minutes or so. Unfortunately, by the time I get around to seeing stuff, it may be days later.

    With the exceptions of Keoki Kerr, Howard Dashefvsky and Joe Moore, I have no idea who is on which station - and that's because I've known them for a very long time outside of the broadcasting industry. As for the rest of them - news readers pretty much look like and sound the same to me - gender and ethnic differences are about the only clues.

    Although the two downtown dailies along with Honolulu Weekly do a fairly decent job of covering local news and people, it was quite disconcerting to realize how much more difficult it is to be informed about what's going on outside of Hawai`i.

    For example, in MAD Magazine's annual "20 Dumbest People, Events and Things inb 2008" in its January '09 issue, I had almost no idea what the magazine was talking about with eight of its picks!

    Back in the day when there were two real papers complete local, state, national and international news in one package, I stayed on top of everything newsworthy. Now, I'm lucky if I have the time to go to the MSN site more than one or twice a week.

    This situation is exacerbated because I cannot afford all the fancy electronic doodads and have no access to a computer between 8 am and 10 pm most weekdays.

    Is there anyone out there besides me who misses reading "real" papers?

  8. turk fontaine:

    Tucker creeps me out a bit. At the mayoral debate last Sept., while introducing the on stage pannel, he made a slightly fratboy remark about Lee Cataluna being the most attractive of the three, the other two being Jerry Burris and Dan Boylan. Lee made the 'phone to the ear' sign and mouthed "call me". I laughed. I never saw MoonCat when she was an on air news person, but I read her in the Advertiser every week. I liked Ben too, I'm sorry he's leaving, guess his 'Q' rating was not up to snuff.

  9. Menehune:

    Like Cat, I liked Ben Gutierrez. I appreciated how he prononuced Hawaiian words correctly. He always made sure to empahsize the kahakos and okinas properly (if this Japanese guys notices correct pronounciations of Hawaiian words, Gutierrez must be doing something spectacular). I always take notice when someone puts forth extra effort to make certain that all is done correctly.

    I'm all for giving others an opportunity, but the station manager should have replaced a veteran with an extremely talented newbie. Because that's not the case, the mistake of letting Gutierrez go has become more obvious. I don't know much about the business but I do know that when ratings slip, station managers tend to hire new faces thinking that doing so would bring a few points to the upside. It's all about format for me.

    I do not know Gutierrez but I do know that I liked his delivery of weather. But one door closed means that another must be opened. I hope that the other door will illustrate that opportunity sometimes comes in what may first appear to be a curse.

  10. maxcat:

    The Bobs -- Sevey and Jones, their intelligence and personas were great. Joe Moore was a much better sports anchor than news reader. I am 'older generation,' but I find it very hard to take Joe Moore seriously.

  11. E:

    Wait, what happened to Shawn Ching? Haven't been home in a few years so I don't know what's going on with the local newscasters. The newscasters in San Francisco just don't have the appeal that the Hawaii newscasters have.
    I did, however, catch Rob Fukuzaki in LA when I was there for Christmas.

  12. oldshoes:

    free agency in the NFL is not as bad as in Baseball. And there is no salary cap in baseball.Baseball players are true mercenaries with no loyalty,except to thier fat wallets.(my opinion). i.m not too familiar with weather-people,i usually channel surf at that time. Remember when there were no weather segments ,aside from a small report after sports?! unless there was a hurricane or something ,like hurricane Ewa. I like Joe Moore. and enjoyed his sidekicks les keiter,then bob hogue." Finally tonight, have you ever noticed........."

  13. NeedaHobby:

    I really liked Shawn Ching. And, not only for his looks ;), but for his rapport with Paula Akana and Robert Kekaula. They were hilarious together! Especially on the late news when they became tired and feisty! Now, we only get to see Paula on on the late news :(

    @hemajang - yup, that broadcast is one of my favorite Triumph segments. I like how Dash is trying so hard NOT to laugh.

  14. NeedaHobby:

    @E - Shawn Ching left to pursue his law career.

  15. theDman:

    I think it REALLY helps to be female if you are doing weather, not required of course (Jeff Booth for one), but it helps. If you screw up, most viewers will let it go if you are nice to look at.

    Guess Ben just didn't have the legs.

  16. Scott:

    I watch KGMB mostly and I feel terrible for the weekend anchors. They must have the high school interns working behind the scenes on the weekends because they screw up so many things. Yesterday at 5:00pm, poor Lisa Kubota had to endure 4 straight wrong graphics for her top stories. Anyway, it does say something when you hire 2 former beauty queens with no meteriological (sp) experience (Rubin and Dudley), then also hire the pretty face Hayden. I read an interview with the 23 year old Hayden a few months ago and she was proud of the fact she hadn't held a job for more than 4 months because she like the "free spirit" aspect of life...I'm like, oh, brother, I hope your next employer doesn't read this article. But, hey, she's got the goods, right?

    I agree with Hemajang, Joe Moore makes me cringe and I really dig the crew of KGMB. I see one particular male anchor from time to time in my neighborhood store, and I can tell you first hand he is quite an a** to the everyday folk. Name rhymes with tinkle.

  17. bonar:

    Man, Ben was good. I always turned to Paula/Shawn first whenever I had a chance to watch the news live.

  18. NEO:

    Favorite Newspeople... you mean aside from Cat? hehe well, I think Marissa Yamane does a good job, I also think that Leslie Wilcox was an excellent newscaster, Ron Mizutani, because he's local boy, added that local flair to everything. Can't watch any News8 stuff... I do like Kim and Keahi, although I agree that Keahi kinda scares me a bit. 6pm news w/ Joe is an institution in Hawaii, even though I don't especially like the guy... I think his saving grace is Kanoa... Class act, a really great guy, and usually he's on point, esp. when he's w/ papa Leahey on Leahey and Leahey on PBS...

    and now, my short about newscasters... Justin Cruz?!?! Stick to radio... Justin Fujioka... sorry brah... Amber Lynn Hyden, can't really tell how good she'll be... Trini's pretty good... Malika, you're beautiful, but finish the meteorology degree first... Olena, you're pretty too, but stop reading off the teleprompter... Joe... start READING the teleprompter... Guy, we go surf... Leslie... COME BACK!!!! Ron... STICK AROUND!!! Marissa, you're beautiful, but a little more emotion in your newscasts would be great... Tammy, I'm glad you left, but not because I didn't like you... it just seems that you're enjoying your job more... Steph and Dash, you guys are great, but too bad you're on a not so great news station... Liz... keep doin' what you doin' girl! Kanoa... you're the man... Robert... you're the two men... :)

    And that's the news... Go F*CK yourself San Diego...-Ron Burgundy


  19. brew808:

    Good Morning Daily Dish 'ohana! -

    :idea: Idea - :idea: Why not Cat on the tube! - We've already seen the music video! How about having the multi-media version of The Daily Dish! :lol:

  20. dsosa:

    Let me say this about Ben Guttierez, brother always pronounced the outer island small town names correctly without a flinch.

    Dude seemed practically psychic, one morning he says "Hilo should expect some heavy showers in the next twenty minutes." And sure enough, it's pouring as I arrive at work. After that, I had to see how fo' real the guy was, and trust me . . . Ben was spot on for us Big I peeps. Mahalo Braddah Ben!

    Like you Cat, I'm quite sure a job or two will find him.

    As for who's on, I like Dick Allgire's and Minna Sugimoto's reports, Rob DeMello's and Liz Chun's
    sports, and the anchor teams of Mizutani and
    Joaquin, and Richardson and Meisenzahl.

    Can you tell I channel hop?

  21. dsosa:

    Oh yeah, like @NEO says, Tammy Mori was a good reporter . . . And she DOES appear happier at her new job.

  22. Ynaku:

    Hey dsosa, Going rain in the next 20 minutes. Shoots man, I tired of this rain. My backyard all muddy and I had to do the yard yesterday cause company coming over tonight and didn't want it looking all shabby.

    You're right about Ben. I going miss that guy. Not too many Manongs on TV. He is indeed a class act.

    Ben! Wishing you the best.

  23. papaya:

    We all have such strong preferences for our news sources! My preferences mostly derive from (1) how competent and intelligent the newscasters seem and (2) how personable they are and how comfortable I am hearing their voice throughout my home.

    I grew up with Joe Moore and I still loyally tune into KHON... familiarity is a powerful thing. Marisa Yamane is good, and I am liking her even more as she warms up to the camera. I went to high school with her and Kanoa Leahey, so it's funny seeing them now in their professional roles on TV. I don't enjoy some of the newer reporters (they need more off-air practice) or KHON in the mornings... those broadcasts always seem half baked and not very informative. On other stations, the only one who leaves a particularly good impression with me is Malika Dudley. Of course she's beautiful, but she also portrays herself intelligently and delivers the weather soooo much more professionally than Justin Cruz. I wish she would replace him on KHON!

  24. bonar:

    thumbs down on h/w teams with matching outfits.

    grace lee/tina chau = up and comers, although grace is more of a show host?

  25. Robbie:

    I had lunch with Ben for a random sample interview survey several years ago. Really cool guy. Not a sarcastic remark, but he does have a great radio voice.
    Just an observation: Because of the unique and small in numbers demographics of Hawaii, most of the Asian/Hapa/Pacific Islander "hotties" mentioned by Hawaii residents are local news media. Since there is rarely a demand for their looks in mainstream American entertainment, most end up reporting the news. Personally, I can name more local news A/H/PI "hotties" than A/H/PI "hotties" in the national entertainment/media spectrum. Not many A/H/PI actors and other entertainment performers on the big and small screen, primarily just due to strictly to "numbers" compared with the population. BTW, thanks to local programming OC16, there's some more opportunity to see local hotties such as Merlinda "dimples" Garma and Jenn Boneza.

  26. Cat:

    theDman: Or if you're David Letterman. He was a weatherman. Look at him now!

  27. NeedaHobby:

    @dman & @Ynaku - just wondering what you BI peeps think of the weather folk calling Hawaii, "Hawaii Island"? I've heard Paul Drewes, Justin Fujikoka, and Shari Shima do it. I don't know why, but it really strikes a wrong chord with me. It sounds so ... wrong. I much prefer hearing "Big Island" or "Island of Hawaii". Is it just me? :? Isn't Malika Dudley from the BI? I don't think I've heard her say "Hawaii Island". Okay, sorry, I'll stop my little rant now ......

  28. NeedaHobby:

    Sorry, meant dsosa not dman ...

  29. RONW:

    Scott: January 5th, 2009 at 8:27
    .....I watch KGMB mostly and I feel terrible for the weekend anchors. They must have the high school interns working behind the scenes on the weekends because they screw up so many things. Yesterday at 5:00pm, poor Lisa Kubota had to endure 4 straight wrong graphics for her top stories.

    yeah, I happened to see that too and I thought out loud, "what a bunch of dummies."
    Pamela and Gary are thee best at "banter" during those empty seconds at the end of the newscasts before they sign off.

  30. opso:

    i thought ben guitierrez was good. he was always so professional. he really speaks well. and he kinda evened things out with the all the crazy antics of dan meisenzahl.

    i miss kuualoha taylor. :(

  31. theDman:

    Yes, Malika is from the Big Island (I've never heard her refer to the BI by any other name by the way). She was valedictorian of her class I believe (Hilo, yes my school too).

    What ever happened to general KITV reporter Tasha Kobashigawa? She really fit that hapa look to a "T". I always thought she might be the "fiery" type behind the scenes, but she did her job well, and she had one of the best smiles on TV hands down.

    Oh yeah Letterman....did he have nice legs?

  32. BP:

    Unfortunatly I haven't been able to watch much news on TV. I get most of my news from the Advertiser ;) Oh and the featured blogs LOL. Namely this one.
    When I have watched, I like Stephanie Lum. But mostly because she is cute (so sue me, I'm a single male.) I used to like Joe Moore (Go Na Alii!!!) for obvious reasons... I'm from Aiea.
    Other then that, really I barely even know any other "casters".
    Reading is much more fun :)

  33. NeedaHobby:

    @theDman - if I remember correctly, I believe Tasha Kobashigawa left KITV to become a pilot.

  34. Ynaku:


    In prefer they call it "Big Island". I grew up with that. I guess I can handle "Island of Hawaii". But "Hawaii Island" just doesn't ring right.

    I laugh when people refer to Oahu as Honolulu. "Hey, What Island you going to? Honolulu?"

    As theDman said, Malika from Hilo. I think her parents live either Papaikou or Pepeekeo Area. She's part French. She gotta lighten up and chance em with the local lingo once in awhile to emphasize a point.

  35. Matt the Cat:

    Talk about flashbacks.. Larry Beil used to be on TV LONG time ago when I was a little kid. I just moved to Seattle, and he's on the news here! Surprisingly or not, he still looks the same.

    Then you get Neil Everett who used to be on the news in Hawaii and is on Sportscenter every day.

  36. NEO:

    Tasha Kobashigawa is now a pilot... Angela Keen is now working for HMSA or something...

  37. Cat:

    brew808: No way! I'd have to brush my hair!

  38. dsosa:

    @ynaku - I bet Ben would have called today's sunny skies. "Hawaii Island" is okay to me, but I like the sound of Big I. Hope your muddy yard dries up!

  39. Jason:

    I'm mostly a KITV guy. Kekaula's the best, and I always liked Shawn Ching (too bad he left, it's not quite the same). I like Justin Fujioka too.

    I like mostly everyone at KHON too, but I'm one of those guys that can't stand Joe Moore. As long as he's there, I won't watch KHON.

    theDman also forgot to mention that Malika Dudley was a Regents Scholar at UH. Pretty and smart — just like Cat!

  40. NEO:

    @Jason-shameless plug eh? haha j/k man... Malika is awesome... Justin is getting better... I can stomach Joe... but I can't stand Justin... Sorry man, stick to radio....

  41. theDman:

    I didn't know that part about Regents Scholar. Wow, and I know Malika can speak fluent French too!

    Hmmm, I wonder if she will return email an ex-Hilo boy....

    .....maybe better not, she'll probably turn it over to HPD!

  42. Manoa Mist:

    Gutierrez was good, but I'd rather watch Amber Lynn. What can I say? I'm a superficial male. Still trying to get over the fact KITV brought in Justin the Japanese weather guy to take Kathy Muneno's place. (See third sentence.)
    Actually, I liked Shawn Ching. Just tell the news and don't act too stupid. He was good. Kanoa Leahey, like that guy too. Doesn't take himself too serious.
    But I'd replace these two with Steph Lum or Grace Lee in a heartbeat. (See third sentence.)

  43. oldshoes:

    holy cow! 42 responses.quite a hot topic.

  44. DevilsAdvocate:

    Cat, terrific topic! Where to begin. Catherine Cruz is the best pure reporter on TV. There's been no hardball reporters on TV since Matt Levi. If Matt came knocking on your front door, you best be slipping out the back door, though Matt would no doubt have that covered also. Les Keiter was the best for sports. Kanoa Leahey is excellent. He could make it on the mainland but he probably likes living in Hawaii. Ron Mizutani is heir to Joe Moore, who I feel lukewarm about. I would see Ron at OHCRA regattas; just a regular guy who happens to be on TV; zero ego. Malika has a sharp delivery; love her spot-on pronunciation of small Hawaii towns. Malika should deliver the weather en Francais one time just for fun. I like Justin Cruz' tidbits of uncommonly known weather factoids but he doesn't seem to do them anymore. I saw Ben Gutierrez looking relaxed in t-shirt, jeans, and slippers sipping a cold one in the Kim Taylor Reece Gallery at First Friday. I hope he stays in media to reprise his Mufi role at Gridiron. Ben is a smooth singer and he can work the foot stilts! Ramsay Wharton is a joy to watch; warm voice and beautiful eyes.

  45. GraceNote:

    JMHO: KGMB and KITV have more depth, context and perspectives to their news. T. Chau, S. Loe, Fawcett, Huff and Kerr go a bit extra on their reporting and do way more investigative work. Their anchors are decent--focused and concise in their presentation, and they often say thanks to their reporters (I know I would appreicate that if I was doing the hardwork). J. Moore's team is just a little skimmy it seems, especially if it is something that Moore has to write himself. I must admit when I channel surf during the weakend, I would pause at that station to have a glimpse of the female anchor, then back to channel 6 or 7......

  46. ted:

    Stephanie Lum and Marisa Yamane are hotties. Tammy Mori was pretty also. There was a really cute petite reporter back in the early 90s, I think her name was Janet Wu. It was obvious that she sat on a elevated chair. Jane Moon, now with HECO, and even Sheryl Tuberville back on KHON back in the 90s. I still watch Joe Moore because I grew up with him due to my parents. But now, 20 plus years later, I can see how other viewers see him as being cocky. He reports well but gets cocky with his own opinions.

  47. Ron:

    Tasha Kobashigawa was Aloha Airline's most junior pilot the day it last flew. She was flying right seat for them on AQ 261, Aloha's last flight from Kahului to Honolulu, along with Aloha's most senior pilot in the left seat. You can hear her proving communications. Someone put a snippet on youtube.

    I recorded the inbound flight, then managed to get the CD recording to her for her records. Don't know where she's gone to fly these days.

    I once got a thank you note from Shari Shima. She has the most beautiful handwriting.

    Tim Tindall, Al Allen, Capt Irwin, Don Robbs, Linda Coble, just to name a few we don't hear on the airwaves. Something about old school news reporting.......they did it without teleprompters.

  48. oxymoron:

    Anyone remember Russ Francis' ill-fated tenure? Whoa, now that was something seared into my memory. I like Robert Kekaula, but he stutters too much to be taken seriously. Boycotted Joe Moore a long time ago, too much ego and not enough aloha. Jade Moon was one of the best, it was sad to see her go. Tasha can best be described in two words: EYE CANDY. Amber Lynn Hyden is great to watch, but I somehow catch myself waiting for her to offer, "coffee, soda or pass-o-guava" and life vest instructions. Keahi Tucker creeps me out too, like many previous comments seem to convey...he seems so fake. That might just be because he replaced Kim G., who also was awesome and I'm surprised nobody mentioned her (yet). Ku'ualoha Taylor was really good, and a sweetheart in person too. Gary Sprinkle is better on the air than in person. Most talented weather might be Shima, but she looks so trashed on TV, aging before her time and always seems congested or under the weather. Malika is probably the prettiest. Ben was a professional, just like Guy Hagi is. Mahealani is someone who did not elicit responses yet, but she's pretty good for a twig. Tammy Mori's deep low voice used to distract me. Paul Drews (sp?) is also one of the nicer people you will meet. Marissa Yamane is pretty, no doubt.

  49. Robbie:

    Yesterday I was talking to my co-worker about Mr. Francis. His sportscasts were the worst on memory. His impromptu comments were so choppy and "out there". Funny he blamed his dismissal on preferential treatment due to an office romance between another sportscaster and a manager.

  50. Robbie:

    I tink Janet Wu was back in the early 80's or maybe even late 70's. I associate her to a time when I was still in grade school or at the latest high school das why.

  51. kristin:

    Glad someone mentioned Neil Everett. I still remember the first time I saw him on ESPN, and it was a big hey-I-recognize-you-moment. Sadly, there was no one there to share in making the connection. Shucks. I miss Teri Okita, too. I see on Washington Bureau CBS reports sometimes, but not often.

    As for favorites, I like Kim Gennaula. No offense to the Guy Hagi fans above, but I can't stand him. His surfing commercials were so played out. Maybe Ben Gutierrez can replace him.

    Mostly my favorites come from KITV. Love that Dan Meisenzahl is on in the mornings. I told someone he was a Kalani grad and they didn't believe me. Local and I like that. I still consider Kathy Muneno a KITVer, and I refuse to believe anything else. Tina Shelton, too. Love love love Paula and Gary on the early news. I agree with whoever said their banter was great. Love when they talk about movies or have the pets on. They have chemistry, but they don't flaunt their relationship. Very professional. Miss Shawn Ching. I pretty much like most KITV reporters with the exception of Debbie -- don't know if she still reports, but she had a grating voice. Ugh.

  52. oldshoes:

    i just remembered- paula akana.she is very good.

  53. ducky:

    I like Stephanie Lum. Can't stand Joe Moore, he's so arrogant. The morning crew on KGMB is pretty cool. Will Steve Uyehara be the next Shawn Ching???

  54. wahinefromwaik's:

    So so on Joe Moore, love Justin Cruz Weather and Kanoa Leahy Sports. Could do better with more seasoned reporters.

    I like Stacie Lowe and Lisa Kubota on 9. Website Rocks

    LOVE THE HD on channel 8 and earlier 9pm news.

    Channel 4 is great all the way around! Nobody really stands out but I didn't think Ben Guiterrez was all that great.